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Marten Transport Announces Third Quarter Results

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MONDOVI, Wis., Oct. 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Marten Transport, Ltd. (NASDAQ:MRTN) today reported the highest operating revenue and operating income for any quarter in its history, with the previous record for each set in this year's second quarter. For the third quarter ended September 30, 2019, net income improved 8.7% to $16.6 million, or 30 cents per diluted share, from $15.3 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2018. For the first nine months of 2019, net income improved 15.4% to $45.3 million, or 82 cents per diluted share, from $39.3 million, or 71 cents per diluted share, for the first nine months of 2018. Earnings for the 2019 quarter include an additional income tax benefit of $1.4 million, or 2.5 cents per diluted share, while the 2018 quarter's earnings include an additional income tax benefit of $493,000, or one cent per diluted share, net of related operating expenses.

       
  Operating Results Comparison    
       
  Net income and diluted earnings per common share used to calculate the TTM percentage change below exclude a $56.5 million deferred income tax benefit in the fourth quarter of 2017. 
   
       
      Percentage   Percentage   Percentage  
      Change   Change   Change  
      Three Months   Nine Months   Trailing Twelve  
      Ended   Ended   Months Ended  
      September 30,   September 30,   September 30,  
      2019 vs. 2018   2019 vs. 2018   2019 vs. 2018  
                       
  Operating revenue   7.7   7.3 %   8.3 %  
                       
  Operating income   5.5 %   13.6 %   18.6 %  
                       
  Net income   8.7 %   15.4 %   27.5 %  
                       
  Diluted earnings per common share   8.8 %   15.5 %   27.6 %  
     

Operating revenue improved 7.7% to a record $215.0 million for the third quarter of 2019 from $199.6 million for the third quarter of 2018, and improved 7.3% to $626.1 million for the first nine months of 2019 from $583.6 million for the first nine months of 2018. For the trailing twelve months ended September 30, 2019, operating revenue improved 8.3% to $830.0 million from $766.4 million for the similar period ended September 30, 2018. Excluding fuel surcharges, operating revenue improved 10.0% to $188.9 million for the 2019 quarter from $171.8 million for the 2018 quarter, and improved 8.9% to $549.7 million for the first nine months of 2019 from $504.9 million for the first nine months of 2018. Fuel surcharge revenue decreased to $26.1 million for the 2019 quarter from $27.9 million for the 2018 quarter, and decreased to $76.4 million for the first nine months of 2019 from $78.8 million for the first nine months of 2018.

Operating income improved 5.5% to a record $20.0 million for the third quarter of 2019 from $19.0 million for the third quarter of 2018, and improved 13.6% to $57.7 million for the first nine months of 2019 from $50.8 million for the first nine months of 2018. For the trailing twelve months ended September 30, 2019, operating income improved 18.6% to $77.2 million from $65.1 million for the similar period ended September 30, 2018. 

Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue were 90.7% for the third quarter of 2019, compared with 90.5% for the third quarter of 2018. Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue, with both amounts net of fuel surcharges, were 89.4% for the 2019 quarter, compared with 88.9% for the 2018 quarter.

Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue improved to 90.8% for the first nine months of 2019 from 91.3% for the first nine months of 2018. Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue, with both amounts net of fuel surcharges, improved to 89.5% from 89.9%.

Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue improved to 90.7% for the trailing twelve months ended September 30, 2019 from 91.5% for the similar period ended September 30, 2018. Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue, with both amounts net of fuel surcharges, improved to 89.4% from 90.3%.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Randolph L. Marten said, "We earned the highest operating revenue and operating income for any quarter in our history, exceeding the previous record for each we produced in this year's second quarter. Our talented people consistently deliver this profitable growth through the disciplined execution of our unique multifaceted business model across our diverse customer base - and overcame the negative impact of the recent hurricane and flooding on our Southeast and Texas operations during the third quarter. We added 43 Truckload and 41 Dedicated tractors this quarter, increasing our year-to-date growth to 149 Truckload and 230 Dedicated tractors, a combined 14.2% fleet growth since the beginning of the year. We expect to continue expanding our capacity to service our customers by offering the best jobs for the industry's best drivers."

Marten Transport, with headquarters in Mondovi, Wis., is a multifaceted business offering a network of truck-based transportation capabilities across the Company's five distinct business platforms - Truckload, Dedicated, Intermodal, Brokerage and MRTN de Mexico. Marten is one of the leading temperature-sensitive truckload carriers in the United States, specializing in transporting and distributing food and other consumer packaged goods that require a temperature-controlled or insulated environment. Marten's dry freight services are expanding, with 1,718 dry vans operating as of September 30, 2019. The Company offers service in the United States, Canada and Mexico, concentrating on expedited movements for high-volume customers. Marten's common stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol MRTN.

This press release contains certain statements that may be considered forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements include a discussion of the Company's prospects for future growth and by their nature involve substantial risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially from those expressed in such forward-looking statements. Important factors known to the Company that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements are discussed in Item 1A of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018. The Company undertakes no obligation to correct or update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

CONTACTS: Tim Kohl, President, and Jim Hinnendael, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, of Marten Transport, Ltd., 715-926-4216.

                                                                                

MARTEN TRANSPORT, LTD.
CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED BALANCE SHEETS

    September 30,     December 31,  
(In thousands, except share information)   2019     2018  
     (Unaudited)          
ASSETS                
Current assets:                
Cash and cash equivalents   $ 40,480     $ 56,763  
Receivables:                
Trade, net     85,149    
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